Tips for Working from Home

For many of us, the work experience has become very different over the last week or two.

While the coronavirus situation is temporary, we are all having to adapt to new ways of working as part of the national and international effort to slow the spread of the disease while keeping businesses and the economy functioning.

For companies that work in sectors like pharmaceuticals and medical devices, as we do at SL Controls, the importance of adapting to this temporary change is even more acute.

At SL Controls, we have many years’ experience in remote working. Some of our engineers work from home, others are based in our offices around the country, while others spend most of their time at client sites.

We’ve learned from these experiences and we’re now using that knowledge to adapt to this all-new situation we currently find ourselves dealing with. This is helping us continue to deliver for our clients.

If your daily work environment has changed, here are our key tips for working from home.

Eliminate the Distractions

Working from home sounds great at first if you haven’t done it much before. The initial novelty soon starts to wear off, however, and is often replaced by frustration. Much of that frustration comes from the distractions that exist in all home environments – children and other people in the house, daily household jobs, etc.

The key is to eliminate these distractions as much as possible. Where possible, work in a location separate from the areas of the house where everyone else is using. A study or home office is ideal.

You then need to follow a schedule to prevent home stuff from intruding on what you have to do for work and vice-versa.

Communicate Regularly with Your Team

If you’re a manager or business owner with staff who are now home working, one of the challenges you have to overcome is the impact of isolation.

In an office, people talk more regularly and hear what is going on. They talk about non-work-related things, of course, but they also stay up to date with everything from new clients the company has won to initiatives and new ideas.

Keeping this connection is vital but it’s more difficult when everyone is separated. So, regular communication is vital.

At SL Controls, we have an employee portal where we post updates and we have a monthly internal newsletter that gets sent to the team.

Take Breaks and Look After Your Physical and Mental Wellbeing

In an office, you take breaks regularly, you socialise, and you may even go for a walk with colleagues during your lunch break. It’s important you continue these routines as much as you can.

While socialising with others isn’t possible with the social distancing requirement that we all must live by at the moment, it is important that you look after your physical and mental health while working from home.

Also, be careful with your work-life balance. It is essential you continue to be productive and deliver on what is required, but don’t go overboard.

Furthermore, remember that it can be harder to switch off when you work from home. When you work in an office, you can use the physical act of leaving and the drive home to switch from work mode to home mode.

This is more difficult when all you have is a walk down the stairs or down the hall. Therefore, you’ll have to make a more conscious effort to switch off.

Managing the Change

There are some people who will thrive in this period of unavoidable home working and there will be others who find it challenging. Whichever category you fall into, the above tips should help.

Fiona Beirne

Fiona is SL Controls' HR Manager. She has extensive HR sector experience and is a CIPD qualified HR Professional. She brings a wealth of knowledge gained working in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector for several multi-national companies. Fiona provides HR business partnership and leadership to optimise people strategy and culture and facilitates the liaison and delivery of human resource programmes.

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